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Curiosities of London Life (Victorian London Ebooks Book 3) by [Smith, Charles Manby]
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Curiosities of London Life (Victorian London Ebooks Book 3) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
Customers reported quality issues in this eBook. This eBook has: Typos.
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Kindle Edition, 1 Jan 1853

Length: 324 pages
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 550 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Victorian London Ebooks (1 Jan. 1853)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004VMUUD0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #217,097 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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If you have ever read anything like Sketches by Boz (Penguin Classics), then you will have some idea how this book is set out. Written by Charles Manby Smith, this is a series of sketches, like 'Boz', but all set in London. As with the former work this is also a collection of pieces written over a few years, and then gathered together in one collection. I should point out that there are some typos in this work, but nothing that will seriously hamper your reading pleasure.

This edition has a fully active table of contents so that you can easily locate any pieces that you are interested in and want to read again. I beleive that this was quite popular on first publication but as with many other works has fallen by the wayside, over the years. What is so good about this book though is that Manby Smith really brings what he is talking about to life. You can easily envision the characters that he mentions and what things must have been like. He tells us of a trip on an omnibus, both below and on the top deck. He shows us people trying to make an honest living, and others making a dishonest one. From doctoring booze to scams that were practised on the unwary, you also find that junk mail is nothing new, and neither is the phenomenon of people having the plants stolen out of their gardens.

Currently there seems to have been an upsurge of interest in the Victorian period, especially with costume dramas and novels, and this book may better help you get a feel and taste of the era. If you are interested in the history of London, the Victorian period, and indeed if you are writing a novel of the period, this book will probably be of much use to you.
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"In short, if you are fascinated by the social history of London and the seemingly inexhaustible variety of Victorian 'low life', then I am confident you will find this a most entertaining read"> So writes Lee Jackson, its editor.I find this a considerable understatement of the merits of this long-lost volume. You will not need to be interested in social history nor 'of London' nor 'of Victorian' nor 'of 'low life' - Not at all. Here is a picture of a bygone city in a totally transformed country a hundred and fifty years ago that in so many ways is different from our own times. It has no comparable technology, no comparable welfare nor health schemes and nothing like the complexity of life in a modern city. But it has "reality" in the sense developed by the modern media. These are real people struggling to make a living through honest or dishonest means, surrounded by the contemptuous, the gullible and the totally uncaring people on whom they rely. Manby Smith is the central character, observing, describing, commenting, complaining, admiring, envying and displaying every emotion, just as we do when we watch so many television programmes that expose our own society. The reader's reaction will be sympathetic, prurient, fascinated, dismissive,credulous, contemptuous - feelings just like those when watching Big Brother, Jeremy Kyle or a Piers Morgan interview. At every section -and there are thirty nine - attentive readers will find themselves comparing their experiences of city life to that so different time. Likewise, they will question the reaction of Manby Smith to the many characters he meets to their own reaction to those they meet every day in their town or city.Read more ›
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I bought this book when I got my knidle because it caught my eye, I have spent many years researching family history both for myself & others & I found this book gave me a wonderful taste for how it really was to live in London in the middle of the 19th century. It also was refreshing to read how similar many things were then to how they are now. There are no rose tinted glasses with this book, nor the maudling sentimentality that Dickens sometimes is guilty of. It was not written as a memoir of his own life but of the charecters of London which he spoke to & interviewed to find out what life was really like. I found every detail to be an accurate record of fact but written in a chatty (albeit an early Victorian form of chatty) friendly way. There is no judgement passed on the poor in the main, it is not patronising, in fact in many ways it is inspiring. Even with a background in social history I was amazed by just how enterprising our ancestors were, how many miles they would walk, & how they could earn good rewards for that enterprise. The book was inspiring as it showed just how good most people are of finding a way if they are free to do so, but it was also deeply moving in places when you read of the suffering. If you have never read Mayhew or any other factual book on social history especially if your family originates in London then I would recommend this book, if you struggled through Mayhew then this is IMO more readable, & of course if you love Mayhew then this is a must. I am sure in future when I research someones family history I will refer often to this book to add detail & body to their ancestors' story.
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